By: Chris Polychron, 2016 Immediate Past President
Bonjour et Bonne Année! Hello and Happy New Year, my fellow REALTORS®!
Just before the holiday, I had the privilege of representing NAR, and speaking at the Federation Nationale de l’Immobilier’s (FNAIM) General Assembly. FNAIM, NAR’s bilateral partner in France, is the premier association for French real estate professionals. The association’s mission is similar to NAR’s mission. Working on behalf of French real estate practitioners and property owners, FNAIM is committed to ensuring that real estate is practiced professionally and ethically throughout France. Like REALTORS®, members of FNAIM must adhere to a strict code of ethics, setting FNAIM members apart from other French real estate practitioners.
The NAR – FNAIM partnership was established in 1999. As associations laboring towards similar goals, our collegial alliance has strengthened over the years and our organizations have collaborated globally on a number of occasions. When the heinous terrorist attacks in Paris occurred this past November, there were a number of FNAIM delegates attending the REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego. Our French colleagues commented that being far away from home during a national crisis was extremely difficult, but the outpouring of support REALTORS® displayed to the FNAIM delegates, was overwhelming. Living in post 9/11 America, naturally, we could all sympathize. But if you attended the General Session during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, you can attest that the bond we share with our French colleagues moved us beyond mere sympathy. As part of the NAR Global Alliances Flag Ceremony which opened the General Session, Yves Boussard, Past President of FNAIM, carried the French flag onto stage. Spontaneously, all 6000 general session attendees stood up and gave a boisterous and extended standing ovation. From my vantage point, back stage, looking out, I couldn’t see one dry eye. Mine certainly weren’t. The NAR community stood in solidarity- a gesture illustrating how ours is so much more than just a profession, it’s a brotherhood.
The 2015 FNAIM General Assembly in Paris was scheduled for the second week of December, hardly a month after the attack. I wondered if FNAIM would cancel. News stations predicted that there were more attacks to come, and Parisians, rightfully so, were on edge. If I am honest, I too was a little bit nervous at the idea of traveling abroad. But FNAIM persevered; they made the decision to proceed as planned. And I am so glad they did! The conference was tremendous.
Every day the world continues to get smaller. We live in a day and age where our next business deal may not be in the next neighborhood or town, but an ocean or continent away. Consumers are more mobile than ever before. And technology has connected us in ways we never imagined possible.
Similar to the relationship that NAR has established with FNAIM, NAR has built alliances with prestigious real estate associations worldwide. These relationships can help REALTORS® tap into, and profit from, this growing global market.
If you are interested in learning more about global real estate, I encourage you to look into NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. The designation taught me how to explore global opportunities in my home state, Arkansas. You may not think of Arkansas as being an international destination, but as they say in France, L’habit ne fait pas le moine. Literally- Don’t judge a monk by his clothes, or as we say it here in the US, Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Global business is everywhere- New York, Miami, Paris, Hot Springs, Arkansas. You just need to know how to look for it. NAR has resources to help you.